Nearly 10 years ago, New Zealand's Super Rugby players revealed in a survey that they wanted a Pacific Islands team in the competition, so the hint of an opportunity for an undervalued group of nations via the leaked 'Aratipu' report is, depending on one's outlook, either immensely positive or a foreshadowing of more disappointment.
That player survey, by the way, was an official New Zealand Rugby assignment and not the unverifiable list of questions allegedly filled out by "more than 100 players" that has made headlines recently.
It actually meant something and it was clear the players back then knew that something had to be done to recognise what the Pacific Islands have given rugby in New Zealand in particular. Again, nothing came of it; too hard, not enough money in it.
Instead, the extent of New Zealand Rugby's gratitude to the Islands since has been shown through a visit to Samoa by the All Blacks as a warm-up for the 2015 World Cup, an invitation for Manu Samoa to play the All Blacks into form for the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour with a test at Eden Park, and a similar assignment for Tonga in Hamilton before the All Blacks departed for last year's World Cup in Japan. The All Blacks last played a test against Fiji in 2011.
Are attitudes changing? Yes, it appears so, if the leaked report into New Zealand's rugby future is accurate, but so are New Zealand Rugby's finances in this Covid-19 world, and not for the better.
Australia is in even worse shape. Even the wealthy Rugby Football Union has had to cut up to a quarter of its staffing numbers, but the positive aspect for this part of the world is that the crowds (and eyes on televisions) are well and truly back and engaging like they did two decades ago.
Part of that of course is that only the fiercely-contested New Zealand derbies are on the menu and all are served up at respectable hours, including a Sunday afternoon slot that will presumably remain in place no matter what the competition looks like in the future.
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There is also no doubt that the popularity of Super Rugby Aotearoa has been helped hugely by the resurgence of the Blues and their clash against the similarly unbeaten Crusaders this weekend could tempt even those normally reluctant to experience the horrors of the temporary stadium in Addington into the cold and wet of a Christchurch mid-winter's evening.
(A note on the collection of grass, concrete, wood and scaffolding now called the Orangetheory Stadium. The construction was a relative triumph when it was put up in 100 days in 2011 after the earthquakes. Now it's no longer fit for purpose and qualifies as one of the most inhospitable places to watch a ball game in the South Island. A new facility cannot come quickly enough.)
Meanwhile, Super Rugby hasn't worked for a long time due to factors that won't surprise anyone with a passing interest in the sport – too many mismatches, too many time zones, too much travelling.
The popularity of Super Rugby Aotearoa has confirmed that. New Zealand linking back up with Australia in some form appears a given. Sanzaar, the organisation engaged by New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina to run Super Rugby (and the Rugby Championship), remain optimistic that the two competitions remain viable as they are, but some highly paid jobs in a Sydney office are dependent on it, so that attitude should surprise absolutely no one.
It's beyond time for a Pacific Islands team to be welcomed to the top table and in this time of rapid change, New Zealand can show the way.
The results may be pleasantly surprising.